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Barclays Upgrades Sodexo Rating to Overweight

By Scott Kanowsky -- Shares in Sodexo SA (EPA:EXHO) climbed on Tuesday after Barclays upgraded its rating for the French food catering firm to 'overweight' from 'underweight'.

Analysts at the bank said the company was "not a bad place to be" for investment despite current macroeconomic headwinds facing its rivals in the catering industry in the wake of the pandemic.

In particular, the analysts said they believe revenues and margins at Sodexo - which specializes in supplying food services to businesses, government agencies, and schools - will remain "well supported" thanks to strong expected performance from the group's key benefits and rewards services unit.

The division, which manages employee benefit programs and provides additional offerings like fuel cards and sports passes, has been a major driver in Sodexo's post-crisis recovery.

The Barclays (LON:BARC) analysts said core earnings at the benefits and rewards services business could benefit by around 40 million euros ($39.5 million) next year from rising interest rates and soaring inflation, which would in turn add approximately 20 basis points to group margins in Sodexo's fiscal 2023.

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